Ok, so full disclosure right up front, I did not vote for either Secretary Clinton or President-elect Trump. This was a decision that I thought long and hard about. My friends and family (on both sides of the political spectrum) told me that it was a cop out, that it was a waste of my vote. I completely disagree. Plus, I don’t really care because it was my vote and not theirs. I think in this case the two-party system provided very flawed options, neither of which earned my trust to lead our country and I voted accordingly.
That being said I do think Mr. Trump was the less bad option, but not good enough to vote for. I do believe that the only way to make things better in the long run is for people to do exactly what I did and vote for who they actually think will most effectively execute the laws of our land and command our military in defense of our nation. If you think that was Mr. Trump or Secretary Clinton then by all means I am glad you voted for them. However, I cannot fathom that there was not someone else you would have rather seen win if you think long and hard about it. We must change the party politics in our country (see last week’s post- To Be or Not to Be in a Political Party) and believe it or not, the only way to do so is through our votes!
That is why I flatly reject the notion that I was wasting my vote. I was communicating by the only means I can to the power establishment. The problem is that the power structures of the political party machines have programmed people to think that if they vote outside that established norm it is a waste…unless we all do it, then it would work. Their structure only divides us, and leaves half of us trying to figure out how to defend someone we really don’t agree with but feel obligated to defend since we voted for them, and the other half scrambling to subvert our whole electoral system to try and change the election result- or worse, start a riot. That is clearer this year than it has been in a very long time.
However, regardless of my own vote, the outcome of the election did catch me completely by surprise. I was certain on Monday that I would be writing this very same article about President-elect Clinton, not President-elect Trump. It has caused me to reflect a great deal and think about the good, the bad, and the ugly that will be the result of this election. Unsurprisingly, the bad list doesn’t change much no matter who would have won, hence the reason I chose not to vote for either.
Taxes and Regulation:
Taxes on businesses and individuals will likely go down and regulations will decrease. President Obama had a very bad habit of legislating businesses through regulations with pen strokes instead of laws. This was bad because the businesses were burdened with more costs that eventually made their way to the consumer. This was good because just as they were enacted with a pen stroke so too can they be undone with a pen stroke. I think Mr. Trump will do just that. I also think he will allow companies to bring billions of dollars back to the United States by giving them a one-time reprieve on taxes to do so. Decreased regulation and taxes for business means more growth, more growth means more jobs, more jobs means less spending required on the social safety net, these are all good things.
There will be people that very much disagree with me putting immigration reform on the “good” list, but hear me out. This topic is the basis for many calling Mr. Trump racist and xenophobic. However, the good thing about it is he is at least advocating for following our existing laws. As the President, that will be his sworn duty, to faithfully execute the laws of the United States.
Now, the counter argument here is that it is inhumane to stop immigrants from entering the country when all they want is a better life. It is immoral to deport those already here and living among us because they have families and lives established. The real irony is that this flood of unskilled labor actually over populates the pool for jobs that many of our legal minority groups are competing for. So, if less legal minority citizens can find work with an unregulated flow of immigrants into the country, how is it racist to stop that trend to increase jobs available for those legal American laborers? The illegal immigrants are not bound by the mandatory minimum wages nor do they cost businesses that illegally hire them any tax burden on social security and Medicare/Medicaid, so though illegal they are attractive hires for business looking for unskilled labor. The real racism is allowing illegal immigration to continue at the expense of our legal citizens be they Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or White as they try and compete in an unfair environment for those same jobs.
However, the liberals making these immoral/inhumane arguments never talk about changing the laws. They simply want to subvert the existing law in order to feel better about themselves in the moment. You see that is the truth behind the ideology of almost every deeply liberal policy, it is a selfish need for the liberal to feel good about themselves without thinking about the second and third order effects of that action.
It sets a dangerous precedent when people begin talking about which laws they want to follow. Take this example, San Francisco is a sanctuary city from federal immigration law, and the administration of President Obama did nothing to challenge that notion. Do you think he would have had the same stand off reaction if a major American city had decided to be a gun sanctuary city? A place where federal gun laws were not enforced- can you imagine those headlines?
Where Mr. Trump needs to improve on immigration in a big way is speaking with compassion when explaining the inevitable effects that following the law will have on individuals and families that are in the country now. It will be painful to do the right thing, and it is not necessary to deport every single illegal immigrant, but it doesn’t change the fact that something needs to be done. An open border is not a viable option for a nation. We are a nation of laws. This is essential; if we grant amnesty to those here illegally, it sends a message to others that as long as you get here you can eventually stay. The devil will be in the details. Should we fine those that are here illegally, charge them back taxes and let them stay, deport them, or grant them full amnesty? This will be a political tight rope for Mr. Trump, but I do think the net effect of getting our hands around this complicated problem will be a positive both humanitarianly and for our national security if some common sense and compassion is applied.
The Affordable Care Act will be made in to a much more sensible law. Should the government be able to force citizens to purchase something even if they do not want it? The Supreme Court said it could, but I could not disagree more. I don’t think the law will be scrapped completely, but there should be a good deal of common sense reform. The most popular aspects of the law will almost certainly remain in tact meaning that this law may still remain a financial burden on the budget.
Free trade will suffer a massive set back. This is how Mr. Trump won the election. He tapped into anger that neither core Republicans or Democrats saw. People in the rust belt, specifically, non-college graduate, white males feel neglected and left behind by the effects of free-trade and globalization. This frustration has developed over time with manufacturing being offshored to China, services to India, or various jobs insourced to machines and computer programs. These people voted for President Obama, believing he was the one in the race that could influence the outcome they wanted, but it didn’t happen. This time this group went for Mr. Trump.
This favoring of trade barriers and increased nationalism in trade has never worked. The effect of tariffs and penalties is increased costs to businesses that show up as higher priced goods at the store. So, more people may have jobs, but the price of goods will necessarily increase, therefore the standard of living will stagnate or decrease for these same re-employed workers.
Additionally, by not employing people in other countries the markets abroad for our goods shrink as those people return to extreme poverty. I feel for the American worker that was left behind by globalization but the way to fix it is not to hold on to the structures of the past, it is to invigorate our people to meet the needs of the future. This is hard. Investment in infrastructure and education will position these skilled workers that lost work due to outsourcing and offshoring to be ready to create new opportunity here. Artificially inflating the cost of doing business might be the most effective way to put Pennsylvania in the Republican column for the first time in 30 years, but it is not an effective long-term solution to this problem. Business will and must continue to look for the most efficient way to assemble their supply chain and manufacture their goods. The government interfering to influence that efficiency decision is a Band-Aid, not a cure.
I fear the executive branch will continue to exercise power beyond its Constitutional authority. This expansion of executive power has not ceased since the turn of the 20th century and I do not see a change in sight during a Donald Trump administration. This concern was the same no matter who had won on Tuesday. What will be interesting is to see whether the progressive crowd that celebrated President Obama wielding his pen to enact Executive Orders to circumvent any congressional push back feel the same about President Trump, or if they suddenly see the Constitutional light- I suspect the latter, although only until another progressive is elected.
Mr. Trump has expressed a desire for safety and security above all else. Expanding the Patriot Act, advocating for policies like stop and frisk, etc. See the post The Curious Case for Freedom vs. Safety for why I think this is a bad idea.
The national debt will continue its ascent. It’s that simple. Tax cuts along with promised increased spending on infrastructure and defense leaves no other option. The long-term hope of course is that the growth spurred by the tax relief for both businesses and individuals discussed above will offset the increased spending. I tend to agree with that thinking, but it will take years. Meaning in the short term, more deficit spending and increased debt. Both candidates would increase debt. The differences were only what they would spend upon.
Trump Voter= Racist, Misogynistic, Xenophobic, Homophobic, White Person:
The leftwing pundits and media are branding anyone that voted for Trump a racist, misogynist, xenophobic, and homophobic hater. This election was a “white lash” according to Van Jones on CNN during the election night coverage. Pause….What?!? Had Secretary Clinton won, would it be legitimate to brand all of her supporters criminal co-conspirators? No. Listen, it was a hard choice election where many Americans were threading the needle between what they saw as two not very good options. Secretary Clinton made the false assumption that the entire country was more like California, New York City and Chicago than it really is. Frankly, I believe most Americans knew exactly what they would get for the next four years with Secretary Clinton and enough of them (many that twice voted for a black man the last two times!) decided to roll the dice on the relatively unknown of Mr. Trump. That doesn’t make them racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or xenophobic. It makes them fed up with the current status quo, and I can understand their frustration.
Riots have no place in our society. Voice your opinion peacefully and loudly your right to do so is protected by the Constitution and thereby the men and women that swear to protect and defend that Constitution. However, if you threaten other people’s safety or property you should be stopped, and with force if necessary. Grow up! Sometimes you don’t get your way. Use your brain to find a solution to your problems in a society that grants you freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press and quit throwing your fit.
Subverting the Electoral College:
The Electoral College will be written about in depth next week on this blog. It is an extremely important institution in our Republic! Now that it looks like Secretary Clinton will win the popular vote by a small margin but lose the Electoral College vote it is predictable that her supporters will begin a conversation about why we do not use pure democracy to elect the President. The short answer is that in our Republic, the states have power. That is a good thing, and I will elaborate much more on the Electoral College next week.
Take a deep breath. Give Mr. Trump a chance. I will be the first to call him out if he strays from his constitutional responsibilities. I am skeptical, but hopeful for the next President. I am going forward with an open mind and open heart. I hope you will too. Thanks for reading.